Celebrating a General Chapter

General Chapter Chronicle 5 - Day n°11 - 07/25

Dear Reader,


You may have wondered if there are any similarities between World Youth Day in #Krakow2016 and the Dominican General Chapter of #Bologna2016? Certainly, one of them is the challenge of translating the many languages. In the case of documentary material this is easily done through the help of our tireless and competent translators, whose work you will have seen if you have visited our website or, in the case of WYD, that of the Polish Friars Preachers.

But what about the Liturgy?

During the Chapter, the Liturgy is celebrated in three languages in turn. One day it is in English, the next in French and finally in Spanish, before the cycle begins again. So far so good. However, not everybody knows all three languages and rely on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to follow the common prayers. Indeed, this special grace was bestowed upon Peter and the Apostles at Pentecost to enable them to speak to and to be understood by people from every nation. The same gift was granted to Dominic who once preached in German.

Our General Chapter has the gift of Fr. Max Cappabianca.

Fr. Max has a German tongue, an Italian name and a Spanish beard. In addition, he talks and sings in a great number of languages, ancient and modern. He works day and night to write, print and distribute books and leaflets in all the three official languages of the Order, so that a small Pentecost can occur for all the 114 participants in the Chapter.

Liturgy does not consist only of words, but gestures too. But in this respect there are even more traditions and customs than languages among the friars; as many as there are Dominican provinces. But do not worry: each Capitular Father is guided by Fr. Daniele Drago through every step of the Liturgy.

Fr. Daniele has Italian blood, French savoir faire and a British thoroughness. Merely by blinking his eyes or raising his eyebrows he directs his acolytes to work like clockwork so that every celebration runs smoothly, solemnly and with dignity. The only one who occasionally goes astray is the deacon, who – being also your Chronicler – has to overcome the distraction of thinking about his next Chronicle and instead concentrate on the Mass.

There is a third ingredient which must be added to the Liturgy. Sacred art, which shapes the environment where the faithful gather, blends liturgical words and actions into a single divine experience delighting all the senses. For this purpose, the Basilica of St. Dominic provides a setting of great beauty: the marvellous wooden choir carved by Fr. Damiano in the XVI century. Every stall of the choir portrays a scene from the Old or the New Testament, so that you may choose your place according to your favourite book of the Bible.

Giving a more detailed description would detract from the pleasure of discovering it for yourself. So come to Bologna and visit the home of St. Dominic as soon as the Chapter is finished!


The Chronicler